Congressional Corner August 2015
Background Information: Roughly 56% of older taxpaying households paid income taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits this year, even though many of them only made twice the federal poverty level in income. Question: Do you believe this is fair, and if not, what should be done about it? .In addition, two new cosponsors – Reps. Alan Grayson (FL-9) and Lee Terry (NE-2) – signed on to the Social Security Fairness Act (H.R. 1795). The cosponsor total is now up to one hundred and thirty-three. If signed into law, the Social Security Fairness Act would repeal the Government Pension Offset (GPO) and the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) – two federal provisions that unfairly reduce the earned Social Security benefits of millions of teachers, fire fighters, peace officers, and other state or local government employees each year. .On Thursday, TSCL held its first ever town hall meeting with great success in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District. TSCL would like to thank Congressional Candidate Mark Meadows for taking time out of his busy schedule to address concerned members and supporters. … Continued
Category Legislative News Page 15
The Senior Citizens League is conducting an online survey of healthcare costs experienced by Medicare beneficiaries and invites seniors and the disabled with Medicare to participate at . The information will be used to educate both lawmakers in Congress and the public about the financial challenges of keeping Medicare affordable for beneficiaries while ensuring program financing remains sound for the future. To learn more about changes to Medicare, get tips on reducing your Medicare costs and to participate in TSCL's new online Medicare healthcare cost survey visit: . .Some Members of Congress question whether the federal government would replace borrowing for Defense with borrowing for Medicare. Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz (PA-13) said the savings from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would "offer a unique and limited opportunity to resolve this problem that grows every month." Other legislators warn, however, that it is misleading to think that these savings could be used as a "doc fix" offset. .Back in February, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen of Texas temporarily halted President Obama's immigration orders that would have delayed the deportation of nearly 5 million illegal immigrants. The Obama administration promptly appealed that decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans. … Continued
Put your mother's apartment on the market and work to sell it. This means giving it a thorough cleaning, a fresh coat of paint if needed, and minor repairs. .The Notch Fairness Act, which was introduced by Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7) in March, would provide compensation to Notch babies, or those born between the years 1917 and 192Just years before they were set to retire, these individuals learned that they would have significantly lower benefits than they originally anticipated. TSCL feels that this is an inequity that was brought about because of the Social Security Act Amendments enacted and signed into law in 1977. .Their bill would address the administrative funding challenges that the Social Security Administration has been facing for several years. Since 2010, the Social Security Administration's budget has declined by 9 percent, resulting in a loss of 10,000 employees and the closure of more than 10 percent of all field offices nationwide. At the same time, the number of Social Security beneficiaries has increased dramatically by 15 percent since 2010. .On Tuesday, TSCL's Legislative Analyst, Jessie Gibbons, attended the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction's first public hearing. The Committee heard testimony from Doug Elmendorf, Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). .This week, lawmakers passed a temporary spending bill just hours before a government shutdown was set to occur. In addition, The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for one new bill, and one piece of legislation gained critical new support. .At the time of writing this week's update, neither chamber had voted on the omnibus spending bill, but its passage is expected before funding runs out on Tuesday, December 22nd. A vote in the House is scheduled for Friday morning, and lawmakers in the Senate will likely take it up shortly thereafter, potentially as early as Friday afternoon. President Obama signaled his support for the spending package on Wednesday, which means he plans to sign it into law if it is sent to his desk. .On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee held a confirmation hearing for Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Obama's nominee for the position of HHS Secretary. Burwell was nominated back in April, shortly after Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that she would be stepping down. If confirmed, she will oversee the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security programs, and she will also manage the continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act. .The Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 3, Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, prescription drug price negotiation legislation which is under debate in the House could lower government spending on Part D by 6 billion over a ten year period, but cautioned the estimates are uncertain, especially if price negotiations are implemented differently that the CBO's interpretation. .After raiding the current system, the health care law then takes the one aspect of Medicare that everyone agrees is broken and uses it as a model for the future. The health care law establishes the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) as a tool that is supposed to hold down costs; it is modeled after the failed formula that sets the underfunded Medicare physician reimbursement rates. President Obama recently doubled down on this controversial rationing board, and it seems to be the Democrats' only proposal.